What lurks on devices? Here’s how to clean them

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Are devices a COVID-19 risk?

Everything we touch has the potential to have the germs we’ve carried throughout the day transferred onto them. The items we interact with day-to-day we tend to clean thoroughly, especially with the recent virus outbreak. Keeping our surfaces clean and ourselves safe from the risk of infection is important. But what about our devices?

What germs are on your keyboards and screens?

Bacteria can get anywhere, causing infections and spreading illness throughout a workplace or home. Coming in contact with bacteria which then enters your system can cause a range of illnesses, from food poisoning, the common cold, and flu to more serious ailments including the risk of COVID-19. These illnesses can spread quickly across surfaces, making them more infectious the longer you wait to disinfect. 

‘A recent review of the survival of human coronaviruses on surfaces found large variability, ranging from 2 hours to 9 days.’ – World Health Organisation

When left, bacteria on surfaces can double every 4 – 20 minutes. This can leave millions of microbes occupying your keyboard ready to transfer themselves on to your, or anyone else’s, hands. 

How to clean your devices

The best way to ensure your devices are clean and safe for use is through proper sanitisation. However, if you want to give your laptop or phone a quick clean, there are some general steps and rules you can follow to prevent the risk of infection.

  • Turn off and unplug your devices from any power sources.
  • Use a disinfectant wipe containing 70% alcohol to wipe down the entire device. 
  • Do not use abrasive cloths or sponges which may scratch the surface of your device.
  • Avoid using excessive amounts of liquid cleaning products, these may leak into the device and damage it.
  • Avoid multiple people using a device. If this cannot be avoided, then ensure thorough cleaning of the device and user’s hands between uses.

If you are unsure about how to clean your device, check the manufacturer’s recommendations: AppleLenovoHPAcerSamsungDell.

How effective is cleaning?

General cleaning cannot match sanitisation methods. The ability to reach difficult areas in devices is not available using standard cleaning methods, and attempts could damage important elements and general function.

However, for the areas that can be cleaned by hand, the risk of infection is significantly reduced, as viruses can be deactivated in as little as 1 minute using common disinfectants. This is why frequent cleaning along with sanitisation is one of the best methods to protect users from COVID-19 and other harmful illnesses that may be residing on devices.

How bacteria multiplies on devices

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